It’s mid-February now, and lots of people are starting to dream of a summer holiday in a hot country or are busy planning a long weekend away. Taking a break from everything is always great way to get some much needed relaxation and recuperation, but have you ever wished that your fitness regime could come too? If you’re like me then exercising isn’t a chore you want to leave behind with your work emails, it’s something you want to take with you on your trip. There are a number of common reasons people leave their fitness out of their holiday plans, be it finding time, finding space, or simply not knowing what to do.
As soon as you are finished making excuses as to why you can’t workout on holiday, you’ll find that there are so many ways to keep on top of your fitness, you simply have to figure out what your priorities are and what it is you want to achieve- you can then begin making a plan to match your goals. If your current fitness goals are pertaining to muscle building perhaps you should consider using your holiday time to maintain instead of progress. You aren’t going to be able to lift heavy weights in the Bahamas, but you can use your body weight to keep the tension in those muscles and keep your gains!
Do your research and get creative!
So there may not be a gym in your immediate vicinity, but I can guarantee there are other obstacles at your disposal. Is there a pool? Are you near a park? Can you find the space for a few push ups or tricep dips off of your hotel bed? The gym is really all around you, you just have to know what you’re looking for.
The key to this is planning in advance. Short bursts of exercise to maintain your fitness progress, get your heart beating and your blood pumping. Are you going somewhere that you can take long walks? Make seeing the scenery part of the holiday and work your aerobic fitness while you do. Jog around the complex, to the local village, anywhere to see something that keeps you stimulated and makes you feel like you aren’t wasting precious holiday time- you’re utilising it!
Are you planning on spending your days by the pool? Why not incorporate some lengths into your morning dip? Lots of people love to be in the water but don’t get the chance to in their day-to-day living. Swimming is a fantastic way to work your whole body and build on your cardiovascular fitness.
Are you off to feel the sand between your toes? Beaches can be utilised in so many ways! Sprints up and down on the sand can add resistance that you don’t get from tarmac or a treadmill, and will work the muscles in your foot in a different way. You could try broad jumps, bear crawls, side walks or jump lunges, all with added resistance from the terrain. Another possibility to add into your regime is Animal Flow. This will be a new term for many of you but put simply it is a bodyweight-based fitness programme which combines a gymnastics-like physicality with a smooth flow to improve mobility, strength and endurance. Having the soft sand beneath you will help beginners find their feet with this style and there’s lots of information and starting tutorials for this online and on YouTube.
Lastly and most importantly, failing all of these things all you really need is your own body. Never underestimate the power of bodyweight exercises. That’s how most people start out their fitness journey and it is often refreshing to strip it back to basics. Push-ups, lunges, hip thrusts, squats, things that may have fallen by the wayside to make room for your complex workout routines, but rekindling your love for them and changing up your routine is always going to be fun and stimulate your muscles in a new and different way.
An example of a short workout you might put together would be:
Inverted shoulder press
Each exercise performed for 60 seconds with a 10 second rest between each, aiming for 2-4 rounds.
Of course this may be far too easy for your fitness levels so you can adjust accordingly, perhaps adding in the use of a resistance band. This is a tool that adds resistance to your movement in a similar way that a weight would, but can be folded down to practically nothing in your luggage.
I myself have suffered from the “all or nothing” view to training in that if I couldn’t stick to my dedicated programme I didn’t see the point of doing anything at all when I was away. But one holiday I decided to add some HIIT on a crosstrainer into my morning routine and I felt the benefits of this even in the short space of a week. I didn’t leave the holiday filled with dread of what damage I may have done to my fitness progress like I usually would, and I had found a new way to push my body which I loved.
My advice to take this forward into your own trip is really quite simple: do your research, plan ahead, and target the whole body. Have all the time to relax that you need but still keep your gains- it’s a win-win!